ManTech tracks foreign influence using open-source intelligence

Foreign influence operations, like covert actions by foreign governments to alter political mood or public conversation, can be quickly predicted and monitored, according to industry analysts.

According to Darryl Murdock, who is ManTech’s national programs account executive, the company built a model that utilizes open-source intelligence to estimate the level of international influence in any nation in the globe.

This is a topic of interest to the United States government, according to Murdock, as agencies attempt to enhance intelligence by exploiting the growing availability of AI (artificial intelligence) and data. ManTech is a government contractor with many intelligence-related contracts in the United States. The business developed a foreign influence intelligence framework in reaction to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) interest, as per Murdock. As per Murdock, NGA provided the industry with a sample job order, and ManTech financed the prototype internally.

“So, utilizing open-source information, we developed a minimum viable product based on that idea,” he remarked. “We looked into how we can be able to predict the actions of non-US actors.” He asserts that the very same model may be used in every nation. “We looked at the situation in Latin America as well as the situation in Ukraine.”

The project’s primary data source, according to Murdock, was a free platform called the Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT database). The Google-hosted GDELT Project monitors news from around the world in more than 100 languages, detecting people, places, numbers, quotes, organizations, topics, sources, emotions, photographs, and events.

“We focused on critical infrastructure,” Murdock said. A lot of open-source data may be linked to port operations, as well as communications systems and construction investments. He explained, “So you strive after the money.” You know someone has put their money where their mouth is when they invest in some level of critical infrastructure.”

According to him, this type of knowledge isn’t intrinsically new, although it can now be developed quickly and cheaply using software and AI techniques. ManTech’s prototype for identifying foreign influence was dubbed “Project Syracuse,” named after Archimedes of Syracuse, a Greek mathematician.

At the GEOINT Symposium facility in Aurora, Colorado, ManTech unveiled Archimedes, their latest AI (Artificial Intelligence), machine learning (ML), and data analytics platform. A wizard-driven platform was used to create Project Syracuse. “The benefit of open-source knowledge is the abundance of it,” Murdock remarked. “Open-source data can be found almost anywhere.”

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